Belgium has decided not to go on with the proceedings against Switzerland which it brought before the International Court of Justice

Bern, Press release, 25.03.2011

Belgium has informed the International Court of Justice that it does not intend to go on with the proceedings instituted against Switzerland in December 2009. Belgium claimed that in its ruling of 30 September 2008 the Federal Court had stated that Switzerland would not recognise a future decision by Belgian courts on the liability of SAirGroup/SAirlines in the bankruptcy of Sabena. However, the Federal Court had not ruled on the issue of the recognition of a possible future Belgian decision.

On 21 December 2009, Belgium submitted an application instituting proceedings against Switzerland to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. In particular, it criticised the fact that according to Belgium the Federal Court had stated in its ruling of 30 September 2008 (ATF 135 III 127) that Switzerland would not recognize in the framework of the liquidation by arrangement of SAirGroup/SAirLines a future decision by Belgian courts on the liability of SAirGroup/SAirLines in the bankruptcy of Sabena.

On 18 February 2011, Switzerland filed preliminary objections which called into question the competence of the International Court of Justice and the admissibility of the Belgian application. In particular, it challenged the existence of a dispute between the two States. Switzerland pointed out that in its judgment of 30 September 2008 the Federal Court had not ruled on the issue of the recognition of a possible future Belgian decision. Consequently, there is no dispute between Belgium and Switzerland.

Following the submission of preliminary objections by Switzerland, Belgium informed the International Court of Justice that it did not intend to go on with the proceedings instituted against Switzerland. Switzerland did not oppose the discontinuance of the proceedings. The proceedings before the International Court of Justice (Belgium v. Switzerland) have now ended. The Court will still have to issue an order officially recording the discontinuance of the proceedings.


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